Welcome to Blockpad
Blockpad is calculation software built to be flexible and easy to use. It combines familiar programs: word processors, spreadsheets, and 2D drawings, but it lets you do more with them.
This document walks you through some of the features in Blockpad. Feel free to click around and try things out as you go.
Start with "Report Intro" on the left side of the screen, and then continue through all of the frames. It's suggested to go in order, but feel free to skip around and check things out at your own pace.
To add a header,
go to Write > Header & Footer.
Report Frame
A report frame is a word processor with more capabilities. It can have calculations, which are covered in "Calculations Detail". It can also have other kinds of sections and frames inside of it, which you can see in "Frames".
Most of the basic features of a word processor are here, like
bold
,
underlined
,
italic
, and
strikethrough
text.
There are text
subscripts
and
text
superscripts
.
You can change
text
color
,
highlight
text
, and insert symbols π φ λ.
There are also
•
bulleted lists
•
•
1.
and numbered lists.
2.
3.
You can have left aligned text,
center aligned text,
and right aligned text.
You can change these text properties by using the toolbar or the properties window. To open the properties window of an object (like text), go to Edit>Properties, or right click > Properties, or press f4.
Spreadsheet Frame

A spreadsheet frame works and acts exactly like a spreadsheet, but with a few extra features.
 
You can have tables of text and numbers.
 
   
Name
Age
  
Bilbo
111
  
Frodo
53
  
Sarah
28
      
Elizabeth
37
  
You can perform math calculations using functions.
 
4
9
8.6
(<double click cells to see the formulas, or press the spacebar over a cell)
   
   
Average Age:
57.25
   
   
You can also use logical and lookup functions.
 
        
Expenses
$52425
      
Budget
$42000
      
In Budget?
Underbudget
      
      
Name input
Bilbo
     
Age
111
  
    
Blockpad formula cells are dynamic expressions, which are covered in "Calculations Detail".
 
They can do everything a dynamic expression can do, including track units.
   
Right Triangle Dimensions
  
Base
Height
Hypotenuse
Area
Perimeter
    
1 ft
2 ft
2.23606797749979 ft
1 ft^2
5.23606797749979 ft
  
2 ft
2 ft
2.82842712474619 ft
2 ft^2
6.82842712474619 ft
  
3 ft
2 ft
3.60555127546399 ft
3 ft^2
8.60555127546399 ft
  
1 ft
3 ft
3.16227766016838 ft
1.5 ft^2
7.16227766016838 ft
    
2 ft
3 ft
3.60555127546399 ft
3 ft^2
8.60555127546399 ft
    
3 ft
3 ft
4.24264068711928 ft
4.5 ft^2
10.2426406871193 ft
  
You can assign values to constants and use them in other cells.
  
See "Calculations Detail" for more details.
    
3 in
  
7.06858347057703 in^2
  
And define functions.
 
See "Calculations Detail" for more details.
    
function (Diam) = pi/4*Diam^2
  
7.06858347057703 in^2
      
You can also change a cell type from "Value Cell" to "Multiline".
 
In a multiline cell, you can do anything that can be done in a report.
  
See "Frames" for more details.
  
   
Multiline
different
formatting
equations
2 in*2 cm
= 1.575 in^2
constants
P_1=35 psi
functions
F(P, A)=P*A
  
   
You may have noticed that in a spreadsheet, some things are hidden in a formula.
   
In a spreadsheet cell, the formula typed in is automatically hidden.
   
Only the result and the assigned name are shown.
   
If there is not an assigned name, then only the result is shown
  
   
4 ft
       
2 ft
   
4 ft^2
       
However, you can show and hide any part of a dynamic expression.
  
Go to Edit on the toolbar, and select "Properties".
  
The properties window should appear on the right side of the screen.
  
From here you can control the formatting of all kinds of objects, including cells and dynamic expressions.
  
    
To show different parts of an expression, select the cell and scroll to the bottom of the properties window.
   
You should see a section titled "Formula".
   
In that section, you can toggle Show Formula, Show Name, Show Result, and Show Steps.
  
  
4 ft
   
2 ft
   
4 ft^2
   
    
    
    
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
    
    
    
Calculations
Inside of a report, you can insert dynamic expressions, where you will perform calculations, assign constants, and create functions. Regular text won't do these things. If you type in 2+2, nothing happens.
A dynamic expression looks like this:
2+2
= 4
The input section of an expression is highlighted in blue, and the calculated section is in purple.
Insert Dynamic Expressions
In the top left corner of the screen, click the insert button, to the right of the save button. The insert tool is the pathway to most objects in blockpad. Don't worry about the full list for now, but find "Dynamic Expression", click on it, click ok, and then enter a formula into the small window that pops up.
Try it out
:
That's the long way. The short way is to hit the equals sign and then enter the formula. For this to work, the Auto Insert Expressions button must be pressed. You can find it in the top right corner, with the blue equals sign.
Try it the easy way:
To edit an expression, double click on the highlight area. You can also select the expression by moving over it with the arrow keys and pressing spacebar.
Directly to the left of the Auto Insert Expressions button is the Suggest Expressions button. If you have equals signs in your text, they will be highlighted in green, to suggest a dynamic expression there. It looks like this 2+2 =
If you see green highlighted text, there are no calculations going on.If you want it to perform the calculation, then right click the text and choose "Text to Expression".
If you are in the dynamic expression box, but don't want an expression, just press the ESC key.
Typing and Viewing an Expression
Expressions are typed just like you would type a formula into a spreadsheet, but they show up in mathematical notation after being entered.
For example, if 5*(2+3/2+(3+4+7)/(2+3))^2 is typed into an expression, it will appear as this.
5*(23/2+(3+47)/(23))^2
= 1.25
Unit Tracking
Values inside of dynamic expressions can have units assigned to them. For example
2 ft+2 ft
= 4 ft
. To assign a unit, simply type the unit text after the number. The unit text must be the same as what is stored in the Blockpad library. The dropdown selection will help you there.
The calculation will track the units and convert along the way as necessary.
2 ft+2 m
= 8.562 ft
2 ft*9 in
= 1.5 ft^2
6 ft/2 m
= 0.914
To convert a value to a different unit, type "to" and the desired value. For example, type "3 m to ft" in an expression:
The end view hides the "to ft", but you see the end result. This will often need to be done at the end of a long calculation with many units, because the expression will not always cancel out units unless you ask it to.
2 ft+2 m to cm
= 260.96 cm
2 ft*3 ft to m^2
= 0.557 m^2
5 psi*2 m*3 cm
= 30 lbf*m*cm/in^2
*m, cm, and in don't cancel each other automatically.
5 psi*2 m*3 cm to lbf
= 465.001 lbf
*Here, "to lbf" is typed in. Double click to see.
If units are incompatible, the expression will calculate, but it will show a question mark as the unit and an error on the expression.
2 ft+2 lbf
= 4 ?
2 ft*2 cm+1 m
= 1.131 ?
5 psi+(5 lbf)/1 in
= 10 ?
Assign Values to Constant
In Blockpad, you can assign values to a constant and then use that constant in a dynamic expression.
Diam_1=5 in
*Here Diam_1 is assigned a value of 5 in.
Diam_1
= 5 in
Diam_1+2 cm
= 5.787 in
Diam_1/2
= 2.5 in
*Then it is used in expressions
You can also define values using calculations.
A_1=pi/4*Diam_1^2
= 19.635 in^2
C_1=pi*Diam_1
= 15.708 in
Constants can be text values. To assign a text value, be sure to use quotation marks (") or apostrophes (') to begin and end the text.
text1="this is a text value"
text1
= this is a text value
There are a few builtin constants:
•
pi
= 3.142
(or
π
= 3.142
)
•
e
= 2.718
•
and
i
= 0 + i
(i.e.
i^2
= 1
)
To use these, simply type them into an expression like a normal constant.
Constants can also be vectors or matrices, and they can also be complex numbers. See the sections below for more information.
Referencing a Constant
There are three ways to use a constant in a dynamic expression.
Type the name into the expression. The dropdown will help you out.
•
•
Click on the expression where the constant is defined after opening the expression you want it in, just like clicking on a cell in a spreadsheet.
Before opening an expression, go to where the constant is defined, right click and select "Copy Reference". Then open the expression where you want the constant and paste it in.
•
Constant Names
There are a few good things to know about creating constant names.
•
Names are a combination of text, numbers and some kinds of symbols.
•
Numbers cannot be the first part of a name.
Allowed symbols are underscore (_), dollar sign ($), pound symbol (#), at symbol (@), and question mark (?).
•
Spaces are allowed.
•
•
Names are case sensitive, but Blockpad will often autocorrect to the correct case if there isn't another name with the same spelling but different case.
It is best practice to avoid spreadsheet cell names, e.g. A5, D150, or BR559, although this is allowed in a report frame. It is not allowed in a spreadsheet frame, because each cell is considered a value with the location as it's name.
•
If multiple values are assigned to one name in a frame, then Blockpad will show an error if that constant is used anywhere.
test1=5 ft
test1=3 ft
test1*2
= [Error]
AutoGenerated Constant Names
Calculations can be performed without assigning a name to them, for example
5 ft+2 ft
= 7 ft
. If you wish to use this result in a later calculation, then you can do so by clicking on it or copying the reference. When this is done, a name is automatically assigned (value###). You can keep this name or go back and change it whenever you decide.
3 ft+2 ft
= 5 ft
value1^2
= 25 ft^2
Properties and Showing Parts of Expressions
You can use the properties window to show and hide different part of a dynamic expression.
You can show and hide
•
the constant name
the formula
•
the result
•
the steps (shows values plugged in, not order of operations)
•
You can also choose to view the expression as multiple lines and turn the math layout off.
To do so, open the properties window (Edit>Properties, or right click > Properties, or press f4), select the expression, scroll to the bottom of the window, and under Formula, toggle what you want to show or hide.
base1=333 mm
height1=444 mm
Show steps and separate lines:
Area1_a=0.5*base1*height1 to cm^2
= 0.5*333 mm*444 mm to cm^2
= 739.26 cm^2
Hide formula:
Area1_b
= 739.26 cm^2
Hide name and result, show steps:
0.5*base1*height1 to cm^2
= 0.5*333 mm*444 mm to cm^2
Hide name and formula:
739.26 cm^2
Functions
In Blockpad, you can use functions inside of expressions, just like in a spreadsheet cell. There are a lot of built in functions, but it is also easy to make your own functions, which we'll go over later in this section.
There are basic math functions.
Total_1=Sum(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
= 55
Avg_1=Average(1, 3, 5, 7, 9)
= 3.4
Abs(Avg_1)
= 3.4
There are also logical functions.
logical_1=5
logical_2=4
SameTest=If(logical_1==logical_2, "The Same", "Not The Same")
= Not The Same
The expression above uses the if() function. Double click and see what it looks like inside.
*a quick note on logical functions: to test if something is equal, a double equals sign is used. This is to distinguish it from assigning variables and performing mathematical calculations
Some functions are only used with tables and spreadsheets, like lookup functions.
Functions will track units.
Sqrt(4 ft^2)
= 2 ft
Average(4 in, 4 m, 4 ft, 4 mm) to yd
= 1.456 yd
Average(4 in, 4 m, 4 ft^2, 4 mm) to in
= [Error]
Functions that require angles are unit sensitive.
sin(30 deg)
= 0.5
Asin(1) to deg
= 90 deg
sin(pi/4)
= 0.707
Define a Function
Defining a function in Blockpad is simple and a very powerful way to limit rework.
To define a function, you specify the function name, the function variables, and the calculation. These are defined in a specific way. Let's look at the sample below
hypotenuse(a, b)=Sqrt(a^2+b^2)
Here, "hypotenuse" is the function name, "a" and "b" are the function variables, and
Sqrt(a^2+b^2) is the calculation. Now hypotenuse() is defined as a function, and I can use it in calculations.
hypotenuse(3 ft, 4 ft)
= 5 ft
Here are the basic steps to writing a function:
1.
Open a dynamic expression.
2.
Type in the function name.
3.
Type in open and closed parentheses.
4.
Inside of the parentheses, type in the function variables.
4.1.
Variables are separated by a comma.
4.2.
Variables are in the order that you will select them when using the function later.
5.
Type in an equals sign.
6.
Type in the function calculation like any other calculation, but using the function variables where you want them.
FunctionName(Var1, Var2, Var3)=1*Var1+0*Var2+1*Var3
A few things to remember:
Function names and function variable names follow the same rules as names for constants.
•
The order that function variables are put into the function definition is the order that they are selected when using the function later.
•
•
Function variable names are local to the function. So you can use that same name for a constant outside of the function, and it won't relate in any way to the function.
Vectors and Matrices
Dynamic expressions also support vectors and matrices. Many of the builtin functions are matrix compatible as well.
[1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6; 7, 8, 9]+[3, 2, 1; 6, 5, 4; 9, 8, 7]
= 4, 4, 4; 10, 10, 10; 16, 16, 16
For matrix notation, brackets ([ ]) specify the start and end of the matrix. commas (,) separate members of one row into columns, and semicolons (;) specify the end of a row. For example,
[11, 22, 33; 22, 33, 11; 33, 11, 22] typed into a dynamic expression produces the matrix below.
[11, 22, 33; 22, 33, 11; 33, 11, 22]
Matrices can also be created by referencing a group of cells from a spreadsheet or table. In this case, the matrix will update with the table.
12
1
22
13
2
23
14
3
24
Matrix_1=Table1.A1:C3
= A1:C3
Matrix values can be assigned to constants, just like normal number values.
A_2=[2, 3; 5, 6]
B_2=[5, 6; 2, 3]
C_2=[8; 9; 10]
A_2
= [[2, 3], [5, 6]]
And matrix calculations can be performed just like regular calculations.
A_2+B_2
= 7, 9; 7, 9
A_2*B_2
= 16, 21; 37, 48
If a matrix calculation can't be completed, then you will get an error.
A_2+C_2
= [Error]
Matrices also support units.
A_3=[3 ft, 4 ft; 2 lbf, 5 lbf]
B_3=[55 in, 6 m; 7 lbf, 10 lbf]
C_3=[10 lbf, 11 lbf; 3 ft, 1 ft]
And unit tracking.
A_3+B_3
= 7ft 7in, 23.6850393700787 ft; 9 lbf, 15 lbf
A_3+C_3
= 13 ?, 15 ?; 5 ?, 6 ?
Functions work with matrices too. Some treat the matrix like a list or a group of spreadsheet cells.
Sum(A_2, B_2)
= 32
Average(A_2, B_2)
= 4
Max(A_2, B_2, C_2)
= 10
And some treat the matrix as a matrix.
Add(A_2, B_2)
= 7, 9; 7, 9
Matrices can also hold text values.
Matrix_text=["A", "B", "C"]
And you can also use lookup functions in a matrix.
Matrix2=SpreadsheetIntro.D8:E12
= D8:E12
Name1="Bilbo"
Age1=VlookupExact(Name1, Matrix2, 2)
= 111
Complex Numbers
Blockpad supports complex numbers in a very simple way. Simply use the letter i to denote the imaginary constant inside of a dynamic expression. The square root of a negative number will also produce i.
Complex1=5+2 i
= 5 + 2 i
Complex2=73*Sqrt(4)
= 7  6 i
Complex1+Complex2
= 12  4 i
Complex1^2
= 21 + 20 i
Complex1^Complex2
= 520047.128659911  1178305.42932552 i
Sqrt(3^24^2)
= 0 + 2.64575131106459 i
e^(2*pi*i)
= 1
Frames
In Blockpad, frames are the things you do work in. Frames contain objects, and different frames contain different types of objects. The 3 important frames are Reports, Spreadsheets, and 2D Drawings.
Top Level Frames
On the left side of this window, you should see a list of all the top level frames in this file. These top level frames will provide the basic organization for the file, and the list on the left is how you navigate between them.
Frames in Frames (in Frames in Frames)
Frames don't have to be top level though. In Blockpad, you can insert frames into other frames, depending on the type of each.
For example, you can insert a table into a word document. Click the insert button in the top left (or press ctrl+k), select table, select placement "at point", and press ok.
Diameter
Area
Circumference
 
2 in
3.14159265358979 in^2
6.28318530717959 in
 
3 in
7.06858347057703 in^2
9.42477796076938 in
 
4 in
12.5663706143592 in^2
12.5663706143592 in
 
5 in
19.6349540849362 in^2
15.707963267949 in
 
Now, there is a table frame inside of this report frame. The table is fully functional as a spreadsheet, with live calculations and everything. This table is considered to be a frame, but not a top level frame.
You can also insert a 2D drawing into a report, using the same insert tool.
Frames Inside a Spreadsheet
Inside of a spreadsheet or table, the process is a little different. Here, you change a cell property, and then that cell becomes a frame.
First, open the properties window (right click > Properties, Edit > Properties, or press f4)
Then click on a cell, and under "Object" change cell type from "Value Cell" to "Multiline". Now this cell is a Multiline frame, and you can do anything that can be done in a report.
You can write multiple lines of text
with
different
formatting
inside
•
bulleted
•
lists
•
and
•
all
You can enter dynamic expressions.
2 ft+4 cm
= 2.131 ft
Temp1=22 C
Area_tri(base, height)=0.5*base*height
Area_tri(2 ft, 3 ft)
= 3 ft^2

You can even insert more frames, like a 2D drawing.
Or another table.
Angle
Sine
0 deg
0
30 deg
0.5
45 deg
0.707106781186547
90 deg
1
  
  
Sharing Variables Between Frames
Information can be shared between frames. If there is a constant or a function that is defined in one frame, you can use it in another frame.
There are three ways to do this:
•
Type the full location into a dynamic expression, with all relevant frame information.
Open a dynamic expression, then find where the constant is defined and click on it, like a spreadsheet cell. The full location will then be added.
•
•
Go to where the constant is defined, right click and select "Copy Reference", then open an expression and click paste. The full location will then be added.
SpreadsheetIntro.D9
= Bilbo
SpreadsheetIntro.Diameter1
= 3 in
CalculationsDetail.Avg_1
= 3.4
CalculationsDetail.hypotenuse(5, 12)
= 13
Location Naming
It isn't necessary to understand the location naming system in Blockpad, since you can usually click on a constant or use copy reference. Even so, it is helpful to understand how it works.
Below is the basic layout for the full variable location. A variable here can be a function or a constant.
FileN
ame
.
TopLevelFra
me
.
SubFrame1
.SubFrame2.SubFrameEt
c
.
VariableName
This full location does not always need to be used. The required location depends on what frame you are operating in.
Blockpad uses a system of variable containers. Basically, each frame acts as a closed container for constants and functions. If you are operating inside the container, then only the variable name needs to be used. If you are operating outside that container, then you need the location of the variable starting from the next highest shared container.
For example, if a variable is defined in the current frame, then only VariableName is required. Also, if you are in a subframe, all variables defined in above frames only require VariableName.
Angle1=30 deg
*Angle1 and Angle2 are defined
Angle2=77 deg
2*Angle1
= 60 deg
*Angle1 is used in this frame
0.5
0.974370064785235
*Angle1 and Angle2 are used in a subframe with only the variable name.
If a variable is defined in a different top level frame, then the full name starting with TopLevelFrame is required. This is because the highest shared container is the file. The subframe portion is required to locate the variable inside of the top level frame.
CalculationsDetail.A_1
= 19.635 in^2
*A constant from the Calculations frame.
SpreadsheetIntro.D56.P_1
= 35 psi
*D56 is a multiline cell, so it is considered a subframe.
SpreadsheetIntro.D56.F(20 psi, 2 in*3 in)
= 120 lbf
Also, if a variable is defined in a subframe of the frame you are in, then the location name must start with the subframe below the active frame. This is because you are outside of the container for that variable, but the highest shared container is the active frame.
Table3.Sine1
= 0.5
Table2.B1.Temp1
= 22 C
Table2.B1.Area_tri(1 ft, 4 ft)
= 2 ft^2
50 F
*Here we define variables T_1, T_2, and T_high in Table4

40 C
 
40 C
 
Table4.T_high
= 40 C
* Here we reference T_high in the frame above Table4, so the required name is Table4.T_high
Capture Variables
Every frame is automatically a closed container for every variable inside. However, you can change the frame to be an "open container", so that those variables are shared to the next highest container.
First select a frame, then right click and select "Properties". Under Object, change "Capture Variables" from yes to no. Now the frame is an open box.
If this is done to a top level frame, then all of the variables in that frame are shared with all other top level frames. If this is done to a subframe, then all of the variables in a subframe are shared with the frame above it.
This is useful if you want to define variables inside of a subframe, but you want to use them in the top level frame without using the long name.
The table below has "Capture Variables" set to no, so the constants can be used in the frame above without the full location.
1500 psi
 
4 in
 
6000 lbf/in
 
Pressure_cyl
= 1500 psi
Diam_bore
= 4 in
Force_cyl
= 6000 lbf/in
It is best to exercise caution with this feature, because it can lead to multiple definitions of one variable name, which causes errors.

<span fontsize="24" />
Drawing Frames in Reports
Drawing frames are often useful inside report frames. They give a visual representation of the calculations being performed or the constants being assigned. Plus, drawings can have text and numbers that update with the report calculations.
As an example, this calculation finds Height1 and Height2 based on Angle1, Angle2, and the Distance.
Distance=100 ft
Angle1=15 deg
Angle2=35 deg
Height1=Distance*Tan(Angle1)
= 26.795 ft
Height2=Distance*Tan(Angle2)
= 70.021 ft
The drawing displays the actual values that are assigned and calculated. If you change any of the values, then the drawing presents the new numbers. Try it out on the example above. See what happens when you change the values.
<span fontsize="18">
<span fontsize="24" />
</span>
Sections
Sections are used for organizing information or doing different kinds of calculations. Like frames, they can contain variables.Unlike frames, they don't determine what objects can be inside, but they determine the type of work done inside.
There are four types of sections.
•
Section
•
Toggle section
•
Solver section
•
Stepbystep section
Section
A section can be inserted into a report to organize information and to contain variables. Anything you can do in a report, you can do in a Section. Insert a section using the insert tool (top left corner or ctrl+k) and selecting "Section".
Section1.A_1
= 3 ft
Section1.B_1
= 18 in
Section1.C(Section1.Table1.A_2, Section1.Table1.B_2)
= 5 ft
Toggle Section
Toggle sections are used to hide and show information and calculations. They are the same as regular sections, but they can be hidden. Insert a toggle section using the insert tool (top left corner or ctrl+k) and selecting "Toggle Section"
Angle1=42 deg
Side1=2 ft 3 in
hypotenuse1=Side1/sin(Angle1)
= 3ft 4.351in
ToggleSection2.hypotenuse1
= 3ft 4.351in
To hide a toggle section, select the section and open the properties window (Edit>Properties, or right click > Properties, or press f4). Then, under Object, select "Hide". A small window should appear asking for a logical expression. If the expression is true, then the toggle section is hidden. If it is false, then the toggle section is shown.
A note on logical expressions. To hide or show a toggle section, you can simply type
true
= True
or
false
= False
, and it will hide or show, respectively. You can also type in a simple test, like
1>0
= True
,
42==42
= True
, or
12>100
= False
. A practical use is to show or hide the toggle section based on some variable, like
ToggleSection2.hypotenuse1>2 ft
= True
or
Section1.A_1>4 ft
= False
.
The toggle sections below are controlled by the following values. Change the values and see what the sections do.
Number1=42
*ToggleSection3 is shown if Number1 is between 25 and 75.
Number2=5
*ToggleSection4 is shown if Number2 is negative.
This is ToggleSection3.
Number1
= 42
must be more than 25 and less than 75 for this to show.
This is ToggleSection4
Number2
= 5
must be negative for this to show.
Solver Section
Solver sections are used to solve systems of equations.
To use a solver section, type in equations with variable names that have not been used elsewhere in the report. Any new variable names will appear at the bottom of the section. Once there is complete information to solve for these new variables, the solutions will appear on the bottom with the variables. These new variable names can then be used like normal defined constants in the report or another frame.
By default, solver sections have "Capture Variables" set to no. For more information about that, see the last section in "Frames".
For example:
2*var_1+3*var_2=5
3*var_1+5*var_2=7
var_1 = 4
var_2 = 1
var_1
= 4
var_2^3/3
= 0.333
Any constant names that already have values will be treated normally inside of the solver section.
For example:
A_1=3
B_1=2
C_1=0
D_1=2 ft
A_2=5
B_2=7
C_2=11
D_2=9 ft
A_3=22
B_3=1
C_3=1
D_3=12 ft
A_1*x+B_1*y+C_1*z=D_1
A_2*x+B_2*y+C_2*z=D_2
A_3*x+B_3*y+C_3*z=D_3
x = 0.515 ft
y = 0.227 ft
z = 0.439 ft
StepByStep Section
In Blockpad, expressions are all calculated simultaneously, no matter the order they appear on the screen.
For example, although base1 and height1 are defined below Area1, they can still be used in the equation.
Area1=0.5*base1*height1
= 3.5 ft^2
base1=2 ft
height1=42 in
And if you try to define a variable twice, then you get an error where that variable is used.
Diameter_1=5 in
Diameter_1=7 in
Area_circle=pi/4*Diameter_1^2
= [Error]
In a stepbystep section, calculations are done in order, not simultaneously.
So, variables must be defined above where they are used, otherwise you will get an error.
Area2=0.5*base2*height2
= [Error]
base2=3 ft
height2=1.2 m
And if you define a variable twice,
Diameter_2=4.2 in
Diameter_2=7.7 in
Then, the second one is written over the first.
Diameter_2
= 7.7 in
Area_circ2=pi/4*Diameter_2^2
= 3.14159265358979/4*(7.7 in)^2
= 46.566 in^2
This is more like a programming language, where you can use a variable to define itself
abc=100
abc=abc*1.1
= 110
abc=abc*1.1
= 121
abc=abc*1.1
= 133.1
abc=abc*1.1
= 146.41
abc
= 146.41
Blocks
Blocks are a great way to repeat complicated calculations. With blocks, you create the calculations and then set inputs and outputs. You can use that block definition in multiple locations, and only the inputs can be modified at each block. The calculations can be modified by changing the original block definition, and this will affect all blocks created with this definition.
Block Definition
Block definitions specify what a block does. Many blocks can be created from one block definition, and if the block definition is modified, all of those blocks will be affected. There are a few ways to create blocks definitions, but we will cover the simplest: a scenario block. A scenario block allows you to use regular Blockpad calculations to create a block definition.
Below is a block definition for the properties of steel rectangular tubing.
Steel Rectangular Tube Properties
Height=4 in
Width=3 in
Thickness=0 1/8 in
density_steel=.285 lbf/in^3
Area=Height*Width(Height2*Thickness)*(Width2*Thickness)
= 1.687 in^2
Weight_perLength=Area*density_steel to lbf/ft
= 5.771 lbf/ft
I_x=Width*Height^3/12(Width2*Thickness)*(Height2*Thickness)^3/12
= 3.915 in^4
I_y=Width^3*Height/12(Width2*Thickness)^3*(Height2*Thickness)/12
= 2.501 in^4
Insert a Scenario Block
Once you have your calculations complete, you can make a scenario block. First go to the place that you want to insert the block. Then press the Insert Block button, next to the Insert button. (Another way is to go to Blocks > Insert Block on the toolbar, or press ctrl+shift+B).The block definition window will appear, prompting you to define the block you are inserting. For a scenario block, you choose the definition from existing calculations by selecting a frame to use as a block.
Choose the Block Definition Frame
To use the Steel Rectangular Tube Properties, navigate to
Intro to Blockpad.bpad >
Report
Blocks >
Section
Section1
. Select
Section
Section1, and then click "Choose Parameters and Outputs" on the bottom of the window.
Choose Inputs and Outputs
You are now prompted to choose the inputs and outputs. In this case, use Height, Width, and Thickness as inputs, and use Weight_perLength, I_x, and I_y as outputs. Do this by clicking on the dynamic expression and pressing "use as input/output" (You can use the ctrl key to select multiple inputs/outputs). Then click "Set Parameters". You will be prompted to enter values for the inputs. Do so, and then click insert block.
Example with Tube Properties
Below is a scenario block already created. Notice that it is the same as our definition above, except with different inputs. If you double click on the block, you are prompted for new inputs. However, you cannot edit anything else from the block. This way, small parts of complicated equations can't be deleted. If the block definition is solid, then you know the block is solid.
5 in
2 in
1/4 in
Steel Rectangular Tube Properties
Height=5 in
Width=2 in
Thickness=0 1/4 in
density_steel=.285 lbf/in^3
Area=Height*Width(Height2*Thickness)*(Width2*Thickness)
= 3.25 in^2
Weight_perLength=Area*density_steel to lbf/ft
= 11.115 lbf/ft
I_x=Width*Height^3/12(Width2*Thickness)*(Height2*Thickness)^3/12
= 9.443 in^4
I_y=Width^3*Height/12(Width2*Thickness)^3*(Height2*Thickness)/12
= 2.068 in^4
Insert a Block from the Library
Block definitions can also come from the Library, but that isn't covered in this document.
Block Tables
Block tables are useful to explore many different scenarios or load cases with one set of calculations. With block tables, you view inputs and outputs in a table or spreadsheet form. You can then modify inputs using that view and the outputs will update. Also, because the inputs and outputs are in a spreadsheet, you can do more calculations with those numbers.
Create a Block Table
As an example, create a block table using the Rectangular Tubing Properties. First, go to Blocks > Create Block Table in the toolbar. Then, follow the same directions under
Insert a Scenario Block:
choose the frame and choose the inputs and outputs. Then click "Create Block Table". An excel file of the block table will then be created. You can change any of the inputs in a row, and the outputs will change accordingly. You can also create more columns of information or calculations, just like you would in a normal spreadsheet.
Right now, block tables are only available in excel using the Blockpad addin. So, using block tables requires access to excel.
Simply Supported Beam
Intermediate Load
Input
P=100 lb
a=5 ft
b=10 ft
x=7 ft
Calculations
L=a+b
= 15 ft
R_1=P*b/L
= 66.667 lb
R_2=P*a/L
= 33.333 lb
M_max=P*a*b/L
= 333.333 lb*ft
V=If(x<=a, R_1, R_2)
= 33.333 lb
M=If(x<=a, P*b*x/L, P*a*(Lx)/L)
= 266.667 lb*ft